The Motor Vessel: Bill Black

Article By Mary Dell Black

To honor these two initial Lockmasters on the Arkansas River, the Little Rock District, Corps of Engineers has named two work boats after them, the Bill Black and the Al Workman. The christening of these boats will take place on Wednesday, March 27th near Tichnor, Arkansas.

Bill Black awardIn 1967, Bill Black (better known in Pike Co. as Daddy Bill) left Clarksville’s Lock & Dam 24 to head south to the Arkansas River. After living in Pike Co. since 1918 except for time in WWII, it was to be a new adventure.

He left to become the Lockmaster for Lock # 2 on the newly navigable Arkansas River Project (McClellan – Kerr Water Navigation System). He and a colleague, Al Workman, from the Ohio River would become the first 2 Lockmasters on this newly developed river and together would eventually be in charge of Lock Operations for the 13 locks & dams of the Arkansas River in the state of Arkansas. Daddy Bill became the Chief of Lock Operations for the Dardanelle Resident Office, supervising and training the lock operators on the lock & dam system from Little Rock to Fort Smith. Al supervised the locks on the lower section of the river.

Daddy BillIn Arkansas, Daddy Bill moved as the river moved, and his life followed the openings of the newly constructed locks & dams on the river. In his 7 years there, Daddy Bill lived in DeWitt, AR; Fort Smith, AR; and then Russellville, AR. Throughout his career Bill earned special recognition including a specific Superior Job Performance award for quick and decisive action to avert flooding disasters following heavy rainfalls over the Arkansas River Valley.

In 1974, After 7 years of service to the crews and people of the Arkansas River, Daddy Bill retired and returned to Pike Co. He eventually lived on the hill with a view of the Mississippi where he was able to continue watching the river flow and the towboats run!

Here’s a map of the Lock & Dams of the Arkansas River where Daddy Bill worked:

Pike County Missouri Fossils Donated to University of Tennessee at Martin


Trilobite Isotelus Iowensis: Pike County, Missouri; These distant cousins of crabs and shrimp had delicate antennae and numerous legs for crawling and swimming.

The University of Tennessee at Martin’s fossil collection recently grew in size and quality with the donation of a trilobite collection. George Stone, of Carterville, Ill., made his second gift of museum-quality trilobites to the university, which was accepted July 24 by Dr. Michael Gibson, professor of geology…

… This collection came from a site in Pike County, Mo., and was found in Maquoketa Shale deposited when Illinois was a tropical muddy sea …. READ MORE >>>

Columbia Missouri Tribune’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Project

Porter In North Missouri

Click image to preview the book in Google Books

A third force, under Maj. Henry Caldwell of the 3rd Iowa Cavalry, had about 240 men and was moving south from Mexico. It included elements of the 3rd Iowa, the 10th Missouri State Militia Cavalry and an independent company from Pike County called the Red Rovers.

READ MORE >>> The Columbia Missouri Tribune

Hydro Power on the Mississippi at Clarksville?


City of Quincy Project No. 13331-002; FFP Project 109, LLC Project No. 14402-000


(July 10, 2012)

On May 1, 2012, City of Quincy and FFP Project 109, LLC filed preliminary permit applications pursuant to section 4(f) of the Federal Power Act proposing to study the feasibility of a hydropower project, to be located at the existing Mississippi River Lock and Dam No. 24 on the Mississippi River, near the city of Clarksville in Pike County, Missouri and Calhoun County, Illinois. City of Quincy’s application is for a successive preliminary permit. Mississippi River Lock and Dam No. 24 is owned by the United States government and operated by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The sole purpose of a preliminary permit, if issued, is to grant the permit holder priority to file a license application during the permit term. A preliminary permit does not authorize the permit holder to perform any land-disturbing activities or otherwise enter upon lands or waters owned by others without the owner’s express permission….. Read More.

Did you know…?

  • Simpatico, the artist collective shop on front street, celebrated their 5th anniversary in Clarksville in July?
  • Cool Beans, the coffee shop that opened in October 2008, has expanded their dining and meeting space to include Cooper’s historic grocery building and the neighboring old drug store?
  • The Biker Bayou opened this fall? Brave the winter cold and ride your hog in to town on a sunny weekend.
  • Boyd’s Village Market is now open? If you don’t know this. You probably don’t live here! One stop shop for your bread, milk, meat-snack, sun-drop, atm, and gasoline. Finally!
  • Santa Claus visited Applefest? I got proof:

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